The news this week that Espinosa will be playing through a torn rotator cuff this season and that Jayson Werth’s wrist is still not back at full strength certainly caused more than a little concern. Let’s not forget that Zim is coming off offseason shoulder surgery, and that Stras is not all that far removed from his Tommy John procedure. On the bright side, I can speak from experience that it is possible to play through a torn labrum, assuming you are not a pitcher. I had a torn labrum and rotator cuff for many years and only finally got it repaired 14 months ago (although often referred to interchangeably, they are not exactly the same injury). The rehab was brutal, and makes me even more impressed that LaRoche went through it and then came back last season and put up the numbers that he did. Hopefully Danny can keep his shoulder strong and play through the injury. If not though, Davey must not hesitate to play Lombo. He should at least see some increased time there to give Espinosa a rest more often.
As for Werth, I actually liked him as a leadoff hitter. Wrist injury or not, I think his days of hitting 25+ homers per year are over. I’m fine with him in the 6th spot if Span lives up to expectations. But for all the heat I’ve given Werth, he is a smart player. He took a lot of pitches (and walks) in that role, when I’m sure he would have rather been swinging the bat. Working a pitch count, and letting other players see what pitches a guy throws in a particular count, is a valuable skill that does not show up in a stat sheet. Not to mention his stalling tactics when there are 2 outs and the pitcher just batted. Team player. They should not hesitate to put him back at leadoff if Span need a day off or spends any time on the DL.
I realize this blog has seen mostly tumbleweeds since the early stages of the season, but I’m hoping to get back in the groove this fall. It’s kind of ironic that once the season started, when I should have had tons of material, I basically stopped writing because going to most of the games takes a lot of time and involves tradeoffs, and this blog got the short shrift. Regardless, I hope to build it back up as the offseason progresses.
Strasburg has had a few nice outings so far in the early stages of his Nationals career, and the Post reported that he hit 99 mph on his first pitch in the Arizona Fall league. Let’s hope they bring him along carefully and he matures into the player that we are all hoping (praying?) for.
I have to say this now so that I can point to it later in the offseason if it becomes a reality. We traded Ronnie Belliard to the Dodgers late in the season, and instead of being primarily a pinch hitter, he has supplanted starter Orlando Hudson in the lineup. Remember Hudson, the guy that we talked about signing last year before deciding to stick with our revolving door at second base? Well there is still plenty of talk about signing him in the off-season, since he will again be a free agent. A quick look at the numbers shows that Hudson had 551 ABs this year, with a .283 average, 9 HRs and 62 RBI. Belliard only had 264 ABs, and still put up more homers (10) with a similar average (.277). If you project Belliard’s numbers over 551 ABs, it comes to 21 homers and 81 RBI. Now, I realize he is not a gold glover and has been occasionally maligned for lack of focus. But please, now that we’ve had some turnover in the front office, I hope the decision-makers who still think that signing Hudson is a good idea are no longer around. We don’t need to pay more for a guy that can do less and doesn’t get us much younger (he will be 32 in December).